July 28, 2022

#08-226: The Brisingamen Trilogy

Covers of the books in the trilogy

Note: Most people know the "big famous" series of Young Adult books, but there are so many more. Here's a good one.

Get Ready: What's your favorite series of books? The Lord of the Rings? Captain Underpants?

I love book series like The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Harry Potter. But one of my favorite series of fantasy novels for the "Y.A." audience (Young Adults, generally considered to be ages 12-20) is set in the very real landscape around Alderley in northwest England, an area where 87-year-old author Alan Garner has spent virtually all of his life (his family roots there go back to at least 1592). He uses local folklore, and especially the legend of "The Wizard of the Edge," as the basis for his Brisingamen trilogy (also called The Weirdstone trilogy) named for the first volume, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen.

The legend dates at least to the 18th century. It says a farmer was walking along Alderley Edge (a long sandstone cliff above the village of Alderley) on his way to sell a milk white horse when he was stopped by an old man who offered to buy it. The farmer felt the offer wasn't enough; the old man predicted that the farmer would fail at the market, and the old man would meet him again that evening.

And so it happened. When the old man offered the same price, the farmer agreed, and the wizard (for so he was) caused a gateway to appear in the Edge. Leading the farmer and horse through it, he entered a large cavern in which countless men and white horses were sleeping. He paid the farmer from a chest of money, and explained that the men and horses were waiting for a time when England would fall into danger and they would rise to save it.

Like many such series, Garner's books involve young people engaged in a titanic struggle between good and evil. Twin children--Colin and Susan--move near the Edge to stay with their mother's old friends while their parents travel. Susan is wearing a bracelet holding a small jewel, which turns out to be the "weirdstone" of the title. Minions of a dark spirit come after the children to retrieve the stone; so does a shape-shifting sorceress and an evil wizard. But a good wizard--the one from the legend--and his dwarf companions come to the children's aid.

The 1960 novel spawned two sequels: The Moon of Gomrath; and Boneland nearly 50 years later.


Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. bracelet
  2. dwarf
  3. fantasy
  4. folklore
  5. minions
  6. retrieve
  7. shape-shifting
  8. sorceress
  9. spawned
  10. titanic

  1. a witch
  2. servants; followers
  3. not realistic; containing magic etc.
  4. a small, magical human figure
  5. jewelry worn around the wrist
  6. fetch; bring back
  7. stories of the common people
  8. able to change form
  9. enormous; earth-shaking
  10. gave rise to; brought forth

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for July 28, 2022

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. e; 2. d; 3. c; 4. g; 5. b; 6. f; 7. h; 8. a; 9. j; 10. i